Despite only having a relatively short 94-minute running time, Source Code is a far more impactful film than others that are a good 40-50 minutes longer, the reason in part is the efficiency of director Duncan Jones.
Life was one of the bigger disappointments for me this year with a respectable cast and interesting, if not familiar, story that clearly took cues from Ridley Scott’s Alien. But while the execution was okay, though I didn’t find anything all that’s suspenseful, the script was a mess and perhaps a good re-write could’ve made a difference.
Needless to say, Everest isn’t exactly a lighthearted adventure flick but in spite of that, and some so-so writing, the performances from the ensemble cast, Jason Clarke and Josh Brolin especially, makes it worthwhile, though for myself, I’m not sure if I’d ever revisit it. The Blu-ray released by Universal offers excellent video and audio transfers and a fine selection of bonus material.
I’m not entirely sure how Aloha got off the ground but as one of the subjects of the Sony hack, it might’ve been doomed from the get-go and for good reason: it’s a film with a haphazard plot but worst of all, the cast share absolutely no chemistry in spite of featuring some fine actors. Bottom line, this is a movie destined for the bargain bin and later air on USA.
Beyond the Lights is one of the better surprises to come out of 2014 with a compelling, if not formulaic melodramatic, story that is highlighted by a breakout performance by Gugu Mbatha-Raw who hopefully finds more lead roles beyond television. The Blu-ray released by Fox includes a decent amount of bonus material and fantastic video/audio transfers.
Laggies is an uneven drama-comedy but it propped up and propelled by a charming performance from the cute and adorable Keira Knightley proving she can excel in spite of any issues with the screenplay, in this case it’s just not a memorable story. Sam Rockwell also works well opposite Knightley and although she’s nothing overly noteworthy, Chloe Grace Moretz turns in a passable performance.
Nightcrawler is one of the more stomach-churning films but not for the violence but Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance proving once again, following great turns in Prisoners and Zodiac, to be a versatile actor. But even putting him aside, Dan Gilroy’s satirical screenplay is just one other reason to see this film, it’s akin to a dark and grittier version of Network.